Health Team

Free mammogram program saves more than money

Posted July 29, 2009 3:31 p.m. EDT
Updated July 29, 2009 6:28 p.m. EDT

The statistics on breast cancer are sobering. According to the American Cancer Society, one in eight women will develop the disease over the course of a lifetime.

Early detection is key to helping stop the disease, but because of layoffs, job cuts and lack of benefits, many women find themselves unable to afford mammograms.

Wendy Arnold, 44, found herself in that situation. She knew she was due for a mammogram, but kept putting it off.

"When you have no insurance, it makes a difference. That extra $300 makes a big difference. It sure does," she said.

When she found out about the Mobile Mammography Unit at Rex Hospital, she did not hesitate.

"What are you going to get for free in this day and time? It could save your life. So I decided to go, and it was a good thing I went," she said.

The test found Arnold had Stage 2 invasive breast cancer. She is glad she did not wait. Doctors told her the test, and the diagnosis, might have saved her life.  "(In) a year or two , it would have been so advanced, they say I wouldn't have made it," she said.

Radiologist Laura Thomas said, "I've seen more and more women utilizing this resource.

"Early detection of breast cancer is important because small cancers that are found early are more easily treatable and we like to find cancers before they are invasive," Thomas said.

Arnold expects to complete chemotherapy treatments in December and move forward with her life.

She is grateful that Rex's free mammogram program detected her cancer early enough to give her the chance to beat the odds.